According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, more than 29 million people or 9.3% of the population have diabetes.
Although getting a diabetes diagnosis can be scary, serious complications related to the disease are not inevitable. Diabetes can be controlled with healthy habits and the expert care of a primary care physician who knows how to help manage the disease.
Quality Diabetes Care
One of the best steps a patient with diabetes can take to control the condition is to seek the care of a primary care physician with a track record of quality diabetes care. “For the best care, you need a physician who understands the disease,” said Elijah Gregory, M.D., with New Hanover Medical Group - NHRMC Physician Group, a provider who was recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and American Diabetes Association for excellence in key diabetes care measures.
When people with diabetes receive quality care as outlined by these measures, which include eye exams, blood pressure tests, and nutrition therapy, they are less likely to suffer diabetes complications like heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputations.
Monitor Blood Sugar
Blood glucose monitoring is the main tool for diabetes control. Checking blood sugar levels regularly and keeping them in the range recommended by a patient’s physician is critical to staying healthy and feeling good. Knowing blood sugar levels helps guide choices about food, physical activity and medication.
Adopt a Healthy Eating Plan
Committing to a healthy eating plan is an essential part of managing diabetes. A diabetes diet doesn’t have to be excessively restrictive. In fact, a well-balanced diabetes eating plan – high in nutrients and low in fat and calories with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains – is a healthy diet for anyone.
The main difference is the need to pay more attention to food choices and adhere to a regular schedule of mealtimes. Because foods that contain carbohydrates raise blood glucose, the focus is on complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains which are a good source of fiber and are digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels stable. Eating at the same time of day every day, eating several small meals a day, and eating healthy snacks at regular times between meals will also keep your blood sugar level in the target range.
Exercise is another essential component of a successful diabetes management plan. Regular physical activity helps manage diabetes in two important ways: it improves the body’s response to the insulin it produces, and working out causes muscles to use sugar for energy. Both of these actions lower blood sugar levels.